We waited in the bus for about 15 minutes. Marti told us it was because we needed to arrive at the Fire Department at an exact moment. As we drove up to the Fire Department, the front landing was lined with Japanese Firefighters. Our Fire Chief got out first and started down the reception line introducing himself to them, and then finally the Japanese Fire Chief. We followed them up to the Chiefs conference room and sat down and heard about their fire department. He described in detail the operations of the department and how one of the largest duties of it is prevention. One of their main focus in emergency preparations. The chief described how every 32 years a large earth quake hits the area. ( they have 6 years to go), and their goal is to make sure everyone is educated on how to respond to this disaster. Our Fire Chief then went into detail about the Plymouth Fire Department. They discussed the simularites between the two departments and also the challenges that they faced. Our chief made a statement that was received very graciously by the Japanese Fire fighters. He said: "In the USA a firefighter can go into any fire house and get a meal and feel welcome, and now he feels the same with Shicogama Fire department. There were alot of smiles and loud clapping.
One of the reasons why Plymouth and Shichigahama are sister cities is because of the similarities in industry. We visited the fish market and took a tour of the facility. The timing was perfect. The trucks were backed up into the bays of the building, waiting for the auction to start. There were only four trucks and their crew. The live fish were put on crates and then on the scale & auctioned off. It was organized chaos.
The next stop was the Kokusaimura, the International Relations center. We were able to attend a peformance of "Groove Factory 5", a youth percussion group. Traditional Japanese drumming as well as current rythms were demonstrated by the drumming artists.